Day 16: Attention Deficit Discipleship


John 6:16-27

Common English Bible (CEB)

Jesus walks on water

 16 When evening came, Jesus’ disciples went down to the lake. 17 They got into a boat and were crossing the lake to Capernaum. It was already getting dark and Jesus hadn’t come to them yet. 18 The water was getting rough because a strong wind was blowing. 19 When the wind had driven them out for about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the water. He was approaching the boat and they were afraid. 20 He said to them, “I Am.[a] Don’t be afraid.” 21 Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and just then the boat reached the land where they had been heading.

 22 The next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the lake realized that only one boat had been there. They knew Jesus hadn’t gone with his disciples, but that the disciples had gone alone. 23 Some boats came from Tiberius, near the place where they had eaten the bread over which the Lord had given thanks. 24When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

 26 Jesus replied, “I assure you that you are looking for me not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate all the food you wanted. 27 Don’t work for the food that doesn’t last but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Human One[b] will give you. God the Father has confirmed him as his agent to give life.”




Of all the versions of the “walking on water” story, I think I’m going to have to make this one my favorite. Matthew may have the famous one, but this one’s just hilarious to me. I think I had actually forgotten this version until I read it this morning, and now I’m wondering how I ever could.

I just think the whole premise is hysterical. You know it starts out normal, the disciples get in the boat, the storm’s happening, and then HOLY GUACAMOLE JESUS IS WALKING ON WATER, the disciples freak out, and Jesus tells them,

So the disciples are just like, “Oh, okay. You want to get in the boat now?” And then they run onto the shore. They crash the boat onto the shore. They were so distracted by Jesus walking on the water, they forgot to drive the boat.

I'm guessing it kind of looked like this.

I can understand that though. Some dude walking on water? That’s pretty amazing. Just the fact that the boat ran aground is one of those “yeah, I can see that happening” moments. Still funny.

But then it gets better.

Then the townsfolk arrive, and they’re trying to do the math in their heads.

“So, okay, we saw the disciples leave without Jesus in this boat, which means Jesus was on our side of the lake. Now here they are, including Jesus, but there’s still the same number of boats on the other side, which means Jesus couldn’t have taken a boat. So…. if he didn’t have a boat, how did he get here?”

So to cover up their confusion, they casually ask Jesus not how he got there, but when. You know, so they don’t look stupid.

And then Jesus proceeds to answer a question that NOBODY ASKED. If you are surprised by this behavior, then

So Jesus takes this moment to get serious, because that’s just what he does. He tries to present some sense out of this absurdity, and understands the real reason why they were looking for him in the first place.

You don’t just go around passing out free food and not get some people looking for an encore performance.

First it was signs, and everybody wanted a sign. Now it’s food, and everybody wants food now. And Jesus just tells them: “You still don’t get it do you? You keep on looking for the things that I can do for you, but you fail to see who I am.”

Jesus is not a vending machine.

Jesus, while he is a servant, he isn’t some kind of tool.

Jesus offers not just personal health and well being, but eternal life. These people were stuck thinking about the finite, and he’s coming at it from the position of the infinite.

We get so distracted by what Jesus can do for us, we ignore who Jesus is, and what Jesus has done for us. We can’t be attention deficit disciples. We can’t just assume Jesus is going to give us everything we want every time we ask for it. If we’re going to be disciples, we’re going to have to detach ourselves from everything that distracts us so that we can have clarity, vision, and purpose, and that truly God’s will be done, not our own.

Lord, forgive your children for when just can’t pay– ooh, a bunny!

See how hard it is? Lord, help us to pay attention, because we’re going to need some.

About grantimusmax

Grant Barnes, aka Grantimus Maximus, aka The Nerdcore Theologian. Currently, he is a PhD Candidate at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley, California. He is a graduate of Perkins School of Theology with a Masters Degree in Divinity. He graduated from Texas State University Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in English, minor in History. He watches way too many movies, reads too many books, listens to too much music, and plays too many video games to ever join the mundane reality people claim is the "Real World." He rejects your reality, and replaces it with a vision of what could be, a better one, shaped by his love for God.
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